Karachi: “Pakistan and Nepal can achieve quantum leap in bilateral trade while enhancing trade in agricultural commodities. Agriculture has special potential for expansion of bilateral trade; Nepal and Pakistan can explore products of comparative advantage favoured by specific climatic zones in both countries. The direct air link between Nepal and Pakistan, increased exchange of business delegations and establishment of display centers in each other’s countries will boost the trade ties and enable both the countries to enjoy increased profits.”
This was stated by Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Senior Vice President Shamim A. Firpo exchanging views with Ambassador of Nepal to Pakistan Bharat Raj Paudyal during his visit to KCCI on Saturday.
Shamim Firpo invited the attention of Nepalese Ambassador towards potential areas of bilateral between two countries. He stated that Pakistan is one of the highest per capita tea consuming countries in the world and Nepal is one of the finest tea producers that can create opportunity for trade between the two countries.
In recent past, Nepal has emerged as one of the best quality producer of coffee and urged upon the Pakistani tea and coffee entrepreneurs to avail advantage of geographic proximity in having these products at competitive price. He articulated that Pakistan and Nepal are situated in the Asian continent and trade between the two can prove to be extremely advantageous considering the low transport costs.
Nepalese businessmen are comfortable doing business with their Pakistani counter parts and that Pakistan and Nepal have common national and international perspectives with wide scope and potential for boosting trade and commerce. The volume of trade between Pakistan and Nepal has not reached to significant levels due to limited trade operations.
During Fiscal Year 2012, Pakistan exported goods to Nepal of worth $ 2.31Mn while it imported goods of only $ 1.99Mn which is quite low. The main items of exports from Pakistan to Nepal include merely include leather goods, garments, light engineering and electronic goods, Basmati rice, surgical instruments, sports goods, dry fruits, and some other minor items. Imports from Nepal mainly consist of herbs, tea, spices, pashmina, and paper products, he added.
Ambassador of Nepal Bharat Raj Paudyal expressed gratitude and compliments for providing an opportunity to interact with KCCI and exchanged views to promote trade between Nepal and Pakistan. He apprised that Nepal and Pakistan hold excellent political relations but the existing trade relations between two countries do not reflect true potential.
Ambassador emphasized the need for exchanging business delegations for enhancing trade and promotion of investment opportunities between Nepal and Pakistan and assured his full support in this regard. He further stated that agriculture and tourism are the main areas where both countries can collaborate. He further highlighted opportunities of investment in Nepal in Mines, Minerals, Tourism, Energy. He told that HBL Bank had shares in one leading Nepalese Bank.
Nepalese Ambassador stated that Nepal is near and approached with low airfare and centre for attraction of diversified tourism for all aged groups. Nepal is a landlocked country and it is difficult to transport freight, however, PIA operating between Karachi and Kathmandu facilitate transportation of air cargo. Sea trade is done under transit trade arrangement with India, the Nepal bound consignments arrive at Calcutta port in India which further enroute to Nepal via land route.
Moreover, he stated that the trade ties have a much higher chance of improving as both the countries are important members of the SAARC, share common international views and enjoy good relations and background. Trade between Pakistan and Nepal is performed under SAFTA agreement. If SAFTA arrangements goes in high spirits, it will activiate the whole SAARC bloc. He also invited the Senior Vice President KCCI to compose a business delegation of KCCI to visit Nepal.
Mushtaq K. Chappra, Honorary Consul General of Nepal in Karachi, speaking on this occasion stated that the Nepalese Embassy and Consulate facilitate the business community to issue the visa on same day. The Nepalese visa for Pakistanis is free. The Pakistanis visiting Nepal can also get visa on arrival to Kathmandu.
Nasir Mehmood, Vice President KCCI apprised the Nepalese Ambassador about KCCI’s MyKarachi Exhibition and suggested to take a KCCI’s Highlevel Business Delegation to Nepal in the month of September, 2013.
Lawa Subedi, Attache, Embassy of Nepal and Managing Committee Members also participated in the meeting and exchanged views.